A Field in England: Review

afieldbannerA Field in England (2013) was a unique experiment in marketing by Film4. It was also a film by Ben Wheatley. The film takes place in an unknown time in a field in England. The narrative follows a group of men who desert from their Civil War allies and find themselves imprisoned by two men who force the group to dig for treasure. As the men dig deeper, paranoia starts to creep in and the group slowly lose their minds.

It’s certainly a very different film for Ben Wheatley, but then aren’t all his films rather different? A Field of England is almost blend of Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog and well Ben Wheatley. Combining horror elements with a contemplative drama around morality, Wheatley manages to strike a balance between The Seventh Seal and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Filming in black and white helps to set the period and the high contrast creates a gritty realistic feel to the piece. The cast works well especially the addition of Michael Smiley who gives a much needed presence to the overall film. The editing is experimental and helps to enhance the feeling of madness descending on the group.

seventsealfieldA Seventh Field in England

However, does it work as an engaging and entertaining film? For me, not so much. There’s too much confusion, too many unexplained things that happen in the narrative that overall, it’s difficult to care. Ben Wheatley made the film he wanted to make but unfortunately the fundamentals are absent thus making the film a rather empty experience to watch.



A Field In England on a Television In England


In case you’ve been living in oblivion for the past few years (or you don’t watch a lot of British cinema) director Ben Wheatley has quickly become one of Britain’s finest directors with films such as Kill List and Sightseers already under his belt. His new feature titled A Field in England, will be opening in cinemas tomorrow. But if you’re too lazy to go to the cinema or too cheap to go to the cinema or you’re too lazy and too cheap to go to the cinema then Film4 has the perfect option for you. That is because for the first time in Film4 history, the channel will be premiering a feature on television on the exact same day that it opens in cinema (you can also buy the DVD or Blu-Ray tomorrow as well).

So mark your calendar and set an alarm for 4th July at 10:45pm and celebrate American Independence Day by watching an English Civil War film!